How to be a professor?

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Leiajade909
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Hi, I was wondering if anybody could share any information with me on the steps to becoming a professor at university?
What experience do you need?
What qualifications do you need?
How long does it generally take to acquire the job title?
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04MR17
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Traditional route at a UK university - Bachelors Degree AND Masters Degree AND PhD.

While working on your PhD (typically 3 years of funding) you will often be asked to take on undergraduate teaching (paid). Then you look for an academic vacancy at a UK university for "Lecturer in..." and that's when you're on the payroll.

To achieve the title of professor you tend to have to have worked within your field for a considerable length of time, writing lots of papers at a consistent rate and contributing significantly to the body of knowledge in your specialist subject. Before the title of professor is bestowed upon you, you need to move through the ranks of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Teaching Fellow, Senior Teaching Fellow, Reader, blah, blah, blah. Each university has a slight variance on the titles they use.

Hope this is helpful.
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mnot
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In the UK a professor is generally a leading researcher recognised internationally & will generally have an extensive list of publications and partners (expectations will vary from university to university and field to field).

To be promoted generally both fellows within your institution & an external institutions will recommend the promotion. Im sure their is some lobbying & internal politics but this is something well above me.

The loose path is PhD, research fellow, lecturer/associate professor/various titles followed by professor. Professors generally are managing a group of researchers with other senior academics, postdocs & PhD students as well as routinely bringing in significant funding.

How long does it take? Depends how respected your work is, lots of people never get their, it’s fair to say most people give up before reaching that title.

Elsewhere in the world the title means different things, in the US the term just refers to a professional academic so a much lower bar, and not necessarily a researcher.
Last edited by mnot; 4 weeks ago
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Leiajade909
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Traditional route at a UK university - Bachelors Degree AND Masters Degree AND PhD.

While working on your PhD (typically 3 years of funding) you will often be asked to take on undergraduate teaching (paid). Then you look for an academic vacancy at a UK university for "Lecturer in..." and that's when you're on the payroll.

To achieve the title of professor you tend to have to have worked within your field for a considerable length of time, writing lots of papers at a consistent rate and contributing significantly to the body of knowledge in your specialist subject. Before the title of professor is bestowed upon you, you need to move through the ranks of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Teaching Fellow, Senior Teaching Fellow, Reader, blah, blah, blah. Each university has a slight variance on the titles they use.

Hope this is helpful.
This helps a lot, thank you!
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Leiajade909
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(Original post by mnot)
In the UK a professor is generally a leading researcher recognised internationally & will generally have an extensive list of publications and partners (expectations will vary from university to university and field to field).

To be promoted generally both fellows within your institution & an external institutions will recommend the promotion. Im sure their is some lobbying & internal politics but this is something well above me.

The loose path is PhD, research fellow, lecturer/associate professor/various titles followed by professor. Professors generally are managing a group of researchers with other senior academics, postdocs & PhD students as well as routinely bringing in significant funding.

How long does it take? Depends how respected your work is, lots of people never get their, it’s fair to say most people give up before reaching that title.

Elsewhere in the world the title means different things, in the US the term just refers to a professional academic so a much lower bar, and not necessarily a researcher.
Thank you for your time, this is helpful and I didn’t know the title meant different things around the world, that’s pretty interesting.
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isabelmarant
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As an example, it took around 23 years for my dad to become a professor - completed his PhD at around 30 and took up a lecturer role at a UK university, then was promoted to professor at the same university when he was 53 after being a senior lecturer, reader etc. Pre-COVID he travelled a lot for work (spent around 1/3 of the year abroad at conferences and the like) and I'd say he's quite a workaholic, to the extent that his life pretty much revolves around his job.
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